Lipton Seat in Sri Lanka’s highlands is arguably the most iconic destination when it comes to the country’s rich tea plantation history. So much more than just another lookout, Lipton Seat is one of the top things to do in Sri Lanka, sitting atop Poonagala Hill at 1970 metres above sea level.
If you’re a tea drinker (but even if you’re not), you’re likely familiar with Lipton Tea. This viewpoint gets its name from Scottish baron and tea empire founder, Sir Thomas Lipton, who would regularly sit in this exact spot and survey his expansive plantations.
Best time to go
How to get there
What to expect
What to bring
Where to stay
Best time to visit Lipton Seat
For the best conditions to observe the view from Lipton Seat we recommend visiting at sunrise or at least very early in the morning – which is exactly what we didn’t do. If you wait until later in the day – 10am onwards – you run the risk of cloud and fog taking over the entire view. We visited mid-afternoon and fortunately the fog came and went so that we were able to enjoy the famous Lipton Seat view.
How to get to Lipton Seat
There are two main towns to stay in and travel to Lipton Seat from – Ella or Haputale. We stayed in Ella and rented a scooter for the day so we could visit Lipton’s Seat on our own terms, but if you don’t have your own means of transport, you’re better off staying at Haputale.
If you’re confident on a scooter then you can drive all the way to the top of Lipton’s Seat, but keep in mind the road is very bumpy with more potholes than cement. A lot of people instead hike the 8km from Dambatenne Tea Factory, through winding tea plantations with stunning views.
What to bring to Lipton Seat
Prepare for your trip to Lipton Seat with our must-have travel essentials.
Waterproof backpack & phone case: Earth Pak 35L or 55L Heavy Duty Backpack, IPX8 Waterproof Phone Case Included (click for price)
Snorkel, mask & fins: Cressi Adjustable Mask, Fin & Snorkel Set with Carry Bag (click for price)
Quick-dry microfiber travel towel: Wise Owl Outfitters Camping Travel Towel (click for price)
Insulated water bottle: Hydro Flask Vacuum Insulated Water Bottle (click for price)
Hiking Sandals: Teva Women’s Hurricane Hiking Sandals (click for price), Teva Men’s Hurricane Hiking Sandals (click for price)
The entrance fee for Lipton’s Seat was 500 LKR per person, plus an additional 100 LKR for scooter/tuktuk access. We’ve read elsewhere that tuktuk rental from Haputale to Lipton’s Seat is 800LKR and 2500LKR return trip to/from Ella.
What to expect at Lipton Seat
Our drive through the rolling tea plantations was nothing short of breathtaking. Each time we thought we couldn’t possibly get any higher, we came to a ridge and just kept climbing. Everywhere we looked was green and lush, with incredible views the entire way. We stopped a couple times just to take it all in.
After what seemed like forever driving through the plantations, we finally reached Lipton’s Seat. We’re not sure what we were expecting, but in all honesty the views leading up to the very top were more spectacular and immersive than the view from the summit. In saying that, the panoramic view from Lipton’s Seat was still beautiful (once the fog cleared) and we can see why Sir Thomas Lipton chose to sit here all those years ago.
Keep an eye out for monkeys in the car park at Lipton’s Seat! As cute as they are, we witnessed them steal food from someone’s tuktuk and angrily try to break the mirrors off. These monkeys are very used to people so you can get quite close, but we don’t recommend it as they can be aggressive.
It’d be a crying shame to visit Lipton’s Seat and not enjoy a cup of famous tea and traditional snacks, so make sure to pocket some extra spending money and take a moment to enjoy the view with a steaming hot cuppa in hand. They’ll bring out an entire tray of food but you can just pay for each item you consume, ranging from 50 – 100 LKR a piece.